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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Memphis Flood Crested VIDEO: Worst Yet to Come Further South Mississippi River Delta

 Beale Street and Riverside Drive Memphis, TN
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This footage was shot May 10, 2011 in Memphis, TN near Riverside Drive and Beale Street.
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Mississippi Delta braces for historic flood

By HOLBROOK MOHR and SHELIA BYRD, 
Associated Press
May 10, 2011
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TUNICA, Miss. – The bulging Mississippi River rolled into the fertile Mississippi Delta on Tuesday, threatening to swamp antebellum mansions, wash away shotgun shacks, and destroy fields of cotton, rice and corn in a flood of historic proportions.
The river took aim at one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country after cresting before daybreak at Memphis, Tenn., just inches short of the record set in 1937. Some low-lying neighborhoods were inundated, but the city's high levees protected much of the rest of Memphis.
Over the past week or so in the Delta, floodwaters along the rain-swollen river and its backed-up tributaries have already washed away crops, forced many people to flee to higher ground and closed some of the dockside casinos that are vital to the state's economy.
But the worst is yet to come, with the crest expected to roll through the Delta over the next few days. The damage in Memphis was estimated at more than $320 million as the serious flooding began, and an official tally won't be available until the waters recede.
To the south, there were no early figures on the devastation, but with hundreds of homes already damaged, "we're going to have a lot more when the water gets to where it's never been before," said Greg Flynn, a spokesman for the Mississippi emergency management agency.
Across the region, federal officials anxiously checked and reinforced the levees, some of which could be put to their sternest test ever.
About 10 miles north of Vicksburg, Miss., contractors lined one side of what is known as a backwater levee with big sheets of plastic to keep it from eroding if floodwaters flow over it as feared — something that has never happened to the levee since it was built in the 1970s.
In Vicksburg, at the southern tip of the rich alluvial soil in the central part of the state, the river was projected to peak on Saturday just above the record set during the cataclysmic Great Flood of 1927. The town was the site of a pivotal Civil War battle and is home to thousands of soldier graves.
Wearing rubber boots and watching fish swim up and down his street, William Jefferson stood on a high spot in his neighborhood just outside Vicksburg. He said he had not had a hot meal since water started coming into his house a few days ago. On Tuesday, the house was under at least 3 feet water, as were dozens of other homes in the neighborhood. Nearby, his brother Milton cast a fishing rod.
"At least we can catch something fresh to eat, because we ain't got no icebox or electricity," he said with a smile. Then the pair playfully debated whether they would actually eat anything caught in the filthy floodwaters.
"If you eat a fish right now, you won't live to see the water go down," William Jefferson said.
Jimmy Mitchell, 46, and his wife and two children have been living in a loaned camper for more than week at a civic arena in Tunica.
"There's no sewage hookup. You go in a barn to take a shower," said Mitchell, who is from the small community of Cutoff. "We have no time frame on how long we can stay."
As Mitchell and friends sat outside chatting in the breeze, children rode bikes nearby.
"Cutoff is a community where everybody lives from paycheck to paycheck. It's also a community where everybody sticks together," Mitchell said.
As the water rose, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour moved furniture out of his lake house outside Vicksburg on family land that was inundated during the 1927 flood. A week ago, he urged residents to flee low-lying areas, saying that the state wouldn't assist the evacuations and that people should help one another secure their property and get out.
Widespread flooding was expected along the Yazoo River, a tributary that is backed up because of the bloated Mississippi. Rolling Fork, home of the bluesman Muddy Waters, was also in danger of getting inundated.
Farmers built homemade levees to protect their corn, cotton, wheat and soybean crops, but many believed the crops would be lost entirely.
More than 1,500 square miles of farmland in Arkansas, which produces about half of the nation's rice, have been swamped over the past few weeks, and the economic impact will be more than $500 million, according to the state's Farm Bureau.
In Carter, Miss., about 35 miles east of the Mississippi, Scott Haynes, 46, estimated he would spend more than $80,000 on contractors to build levees around his house and grain silos, which hold 200,000 bushels of rice that he can't get out before the water comes. Heavy equipment has been mowing down his wheat fields to get to the dirt that is being used to build the levees, and he expected nearly all of his farmland to flood.
"That wheat is going to be gone anyway," he said. "We don't know if we're doing the right thing or not, but we can't not do it."
Vicksburg National Military Park, where thousands of Civil War soldiers who died in an 1863 battle are buried, was expected to remain dry. The park is the site where Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's troops entrapped a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton, forcing its surrender. The victory effectively split the Confederacy in half.
Vicksburg was forecast to see its highest river level ever, slightly above the 56.2-feet mark set in 1927. Farther south in Natchez, forecasters said the 1937 record could be shattered by 4 feet on Saturday.
The state's key gambling industry took a hit: All 19 casinos along the river will be shut down by the end of the week, costing governments $12 million to $13 million in taxes per month, authorities said. That will put some 13,000 employees temporarily out of work
The Mississippi crested in Memphis at nearly 48 feet, just short of its all-time record of 48.7. The figure was preliminary because officials still need to visually inspect the gauge, which was pounded by debris in the river, and the level fluctuates as barges and ships pass by.
Some homes had polluted floodwaters near their first-floor ceilings, while others were completely submerged. Snakes and other creatures slithered in the foul water, and officials warned of bacteria. Nearly 500 people in Memphis were in shelters.
President Barack Obama declared Memphis' Shelby County and surrounding counties disaster areas, making them eligible for federal aid.
The passing of the crest was of little consolation for many.
"It doesn't matter. We've already lost everything," said Rocio Rodriguez, 24, who has been at a shelter for 12 days with her husband and two young children since their trailer park flooded.
On the downtown Memphis riverfront, people came out to gawk at the river. High-water marks were visible on concrete posts, indicating that the level was dropping slowly.
"It could have been a lot worse. Levees could have broke," said Memphis resident Janice Harbin, 32. "I'm very fortunate to stand out here and see it — and not be a victim of the flood."
Downstream in Louisiana, jail inmates filled sandbags for residents to use to protect their property in St. Martin Parish.
"Everybody is just scared. They don't know what to do," said Deputy Sheriff Ginny Higgins, who was overseeing a crew of prisoners.
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Holbrook Mohr reported from Vicksburg, Miss. Associated Press writers Alan Sayre in New Orleans; Randall Dickerson in Nashville, Tenn., and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn., contributed to this report. AP video journalist Jason Bronis contributed from Memphis.



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Naked Terrorist Arrested in New York Subway WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO - DISCRETION ADVISED

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Fun City: Crazed Naked Guy Terrorizes New York City Subway Passengers


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A crazed naked man seen menacing New York City subway passengers on a scary new viral video was handcuffed and transported to a Bronx hospital last week, but not charged in connection with the bizarre incident, according to police.
Warning: The above video contains profanity and nudity and is NSFW.
The man’s May 2 outburst occurred on a northbound 6 train in the Hunts Point Avenue station in the south Bronx. As seen in the video, which was originally uploaded to YouTube by a straphanger, the man yelled racial and ethnic slurs as he finished removing his pants.
After hurling himself into a set of doors, the man took off his boxer shorts, which elicited squeals from shocked observers. As a police officer was talking on his radio, the man bolted from the subway car and accosted a woman walking up a stairway. After slamming a package of hers to the ground, he lunged at a man walking perilously close to a platform edge.
With the help of some male onlookers, the cop succeeded in wrestling the man to the ground, where he was subdued. A police spokesman told TSG that the man, 41, was treated as an emotionally disturbed person and transported in custody to Lincoln Hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
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Hip, Hip Hooray: OBAMA HITS CAMPAIGN TRAIL WITH BIN LADEN: Now that's Transparent

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Bin Laden death now part of Obama's re-elect message

May 10, 2011
www.latimes.com
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Osama bin Laden, mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, is now an applause line in a presidential campaign speech.

Bin Laden’s name came up a couple of times in Obama’s address Tuesday evening at a fund-raising event in Austin, Texas.

Early in Obama's appearance, someone shouted out, “Thank you for getting Bin Laden!’’

Obama said that was a “case in point’’ – a reason for voters to let him “finish what we started.’’
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Transparency Obama Style: AP files Freedom of Information Act Request - Release Bin Laden Death Photo

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The Associated Press's Case for Releasing the Bin Laden Photo

By John Hudson
www.theatlanticwire.com 
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President Obama's decision to withhold the visual evidence of Osama bin Laden's death has created a fundamental disagreement between the White House and one of the largest journalism organizations in the world. "This information is important for the historical record," said Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor at The Associated Press. "That's our view."
Last Monday, the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the photographic and video evidence taken during the raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  The organization's FOIA request included a reminder of the president's campaign pledge and a plea to be more transparent than his predecessor. "The Obama White House 'pledged to be the most transparent government in U.S. history," wrote the AP,  "and to comply much more closely with the Freedom of Information Act than the Bush administration did.'"
Two days later, the president told 60 Minutes he would not release any of the footage related to the raid, including video of bin Laden's deep sea burial and photographs of his slain corpse. Though Oreskes voices his disagreement diplomatically, there's no way around it: The AP believes the president is wrong to maintain exclusive ownership of the evidence. "We're asking to see it," said Oreskes in an interview with The Atlantic Wire. "It's about us saying we would like to make our own news judgements about news worthy material."
The president insists that releasing bin Laden's photograph violates common decency and puts U.S. troops in harm's ways. "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," he told Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes. "I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk."
Many in the press have agreed. "To put his head on a digital spike and display his mangled head is, indeed, not the Western way," wrote Andrew Sullivan on Wednesday.
But a journalist's prerogative is to ask questions and find answers, said Oreskes. "It's our job as journalists to seek this material."
"We're not deciding in advance to publish this material," he pledged.  "We would like our journalists, who are working very hard, to see this material and then we'll decide what's publishable and what's not publishable based on the possibly that it's inflammatory."
Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Susan Collins, Rep. Peter King and The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan have each sought the photos release at one point or another. They each maintained that bin Laden, of course, is dead and the White House's narrative is to be believed. But photos should be released to tamp down conspiracy theories.
For Oreskes, the photo is an important piece of evidence to establish what happened during the Navy SEALs raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound. "In the week since the raid there's been a whole series of story-lines about what happened in this raid," said Oreskes. "At this point, anything that might shed more light on what occurred is potentially quite newsworthy. So we would like this imagery to fully understand what happened during this event."
"I can't tell you what understanding we would get," he prefaced. "But we would like to see it and compare it with other things we're being told about this raid both by U.S. officials and officials in other countries."
The AP isn't alone in wanting more insight on the specifics of the raid. When it eventually surfaced that bin Laden was not killed in a firefight, his wife wasn't used as a human shield, there was no live footage of the event and the "mansion" where he lived was only worth between $250,000 and $480,000, many became skeptical of the White House's narrative. Other organizations that have filed FOIAs include Politico, Fox News, Judicial Watch and Citizens United. Oreskes sympathizes with the president. "This is obviously one of his most difficult decisions and we understand that."

A Look at Who's FOIAing the Bin Laden Death Photo

By John Hudson May 09, 2011
While the debate over President Obama's decision to withhold Osama bin Laden's postmortem photograph continues, a number of news agencies and advocacy groups are attempting to release the government's photo and video evidence via a Freedom of Information Act request. Here's a look at who those actors are:

The Associated Press

Last week Monday, the news wire filed for the photo and video evidence, to which the government has 20 days to respond. "We would like to obtain images from the raid because we believe they would have significant news value," said the AP's director of media relations Paul Colford. "However, we would decide about publishing all or some on the images based on our own editorial standards, which include such factors as tastefulness and whether they could cause harm or danger to others."

Politico

Today, Politico's Ken Vogel received a response to his FOIA request. The Department of Defense referred his request to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command in Fort Meade, Maryland. He posted the letter here. According to some legal experts, if the Army has the bin Laden photo, the government may have to release it because, unlike the White House, it's subject to FOIA. Still, the Army or CIA may apply for an exemption citing a national security risk (though that could be a difficult case to make).

Fox News

Live on air, Fox News anchor Shep Smith wondered aloud if he could successfully file a FOIA request. After a moment of reflection he then ordered the company's lawyers to begin drafting one. No word yet if they received a reply.

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch, the conservative government transparency group, filed its FOIA with the Department of Defense last Wednesday. "President Obama's decision not to release the bin Laden photos is at odds with his promises to make his administration the most transparent in history," wrote the group. "Judicial Watch hopes its FOIA requests will provide a  mechanism to release these records in an orderly fashion in compliance with the FOIA law. President Obama's reluctance to spike the football is not a lawful reason for withholding these historic public documents from the American people."

Citizens United

The conservative advocacy group filed its FOIA on Thursday. "On behalf of Citizens United and its 500,000 members, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, Citizens United is requesting any and all photographs and or videotapes taken during the Abbottabad raid conducted on May 1, 2011 that document the death of Usama bin Laden," wrote the group. "We are also requesting any and all photographs and or videotapes created during the funeral and funeral preparations of Usama bin Laden carried out on or around the U.S.S. Carl Vinson."

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Japan Nuclear Crises Out Of Control Fallout Zone Expanding Continuously

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Nuclear collapse looms? Fukushima No. 4 reactor ‘leaning’

RussiaToday
April 10, 2011
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A small group of evacuees have briefly been allowed inside the exclusion zone around Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. For the first time, the government gave permission for short visits so people could gather belongings and check on their properties. Meanwhile, a recent map of contamination released by Japan shows high levels of radiation well outside the evacuation zone. Dr Robert Jacobs can help shed more light on this. He’s a Research Associate Professor of Nuclear History and Culture at the Hiroshima Peace Institute.

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Abnormal Fish in Gulf of Mexico Alarm Scientists

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Sick fish in Gulf are alarming scientists

Unusual number a 'huge red flag' to scientists, fishermen

www.pnj.com
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Scientists are alarmed by the discovery of unusual numbers of fish in the Gulf of Mexico and inland waterways with skin lesions, fin rot, spots, liver blood clots and other health problems.
"It's a huge red flag," said Richard Snyder, director of the University of West Florida Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation. "It seems abnormal, and anything we see out of the ordinary we'll try to investigate."
Are the illnesses related to the BP oil spill, the cold winter or something else?
That's the big question Snyder's colleague, UWF biologist William Patterson III, and other scientists along the Gulf Coast are trying to answer. If the illnesses are related to the oil spill, it could be a warning sign of worse things to come.
In the years following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound, the herring fishery collapsed and has not recovered, according to an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee report. The herring showed similar signs of illness — including skin lesions — that are showing up in Gulf fish.
Worried that same scenario could play out along the Gulf Coast, Patterson is conducting research on the chronic effects of the BP oil spill on Gulf fish. And he sees troubling signs consistent with oil exposure: fish with lesions, external parasites, odd pigmentation patterns, and diseased livers and ovaries. These may be signs of compromised immune systems in fish that are expending their energy dealing with toxins, Patterson said.
"I've had tens of thousands of fish in my hands and not seen these symptoms in so many fish before," said Patterson, who has been studying fish, including red snapper, for 15 years. "All those symptoms have been seen naturally before, but it's a matter of them all coming at once that we're concerned about."
He's conducting the research with some of the $600,000 in BP money distributed to UWF from $10 million the oil company gave to the Florida Institute of Oceanography in Tampa to study the impact of the spill.

Higher scrutiny

As part of his studies, Patterson is collecting samples at targeted sites in the Gulf and from commercial fishermen. Samples from his targeted sites have shown fewer problems than those from fishermen.
While Patterson is alarmed, he's quick to point that the Gulf's ecosystem never before has been scrutinized as closely as it is now, or by so many scientists."Are we looking more closely, or are these unusual?" he said.
Sick fish have been reported from offshore and inshore waters from Northwest Florida to Louisiana, he said. Scientists are trying to figure out how prevalent these abnormalities are and their cause.
In that pursuit:
» Patterson and Florida A&M University scientists are conducting toxicology tests to find out if the fish were exposed to hydrocarbons or oil. Results are not final.
» Scientists at Louisiana State University's veterinarian school are in the Gulf looking into what microbes might be causing the diseases.
» Pensacola marine biologist Heather Reed is studying red snapper for a private client using broader testing methods than mandated by the federal government, which she says are not adequate.
"I've been testing different organs in game fish that have been brought to me, and I'm seeing petroleum hydrocarbons in the organs," said Reed, the environmental adviser for the City of Gulf Breeze. "I was shocked when I saw it."
She is trying to secure grants to continue that research and is talking to federal and state officials about her findings, she said.
All the studies are aimed at one goal: "To find out what is really going on and get things back to normal," Reed said.

Solving the mystery

But both Reed and Patterson say it's hard to determine just how many fish are being found sick because many commercial fishermen are reluctant to report their findings to state and federal officials out of fear fishing grounds will be closed and their livelihoods will be put at risk.
But at the same time, to protect the future of the Gulf, Patterson said, the fishermen quietly are asking scientists to look into what is happening.
Clay Palmgren, 38, of Gulf Breeze-based Bubble Chaser Dive Services, is an avid spear fisherman who has about 40 pounds of Gulf fish in his freezer. He has not seen sick fish so far, but he said many of his angler friends, both recreational and commercial, are talking about catching fish that appear abnormal.
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Meet Mizzou New Starting QB: James Franklin

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Mizzou fans: Meet James Franklin, your new QB

BY ROGER HENSLEY
www.stltoday.com/sportsMay 10, 2011
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QUESTION: With Tyler Gabbert’s transfer, it looks like the starting QB job for Mizzou next season belongs to James Franklin. What does Franklin bring to the table and can he provide the level of play we’ve seen from Mizzou’s most recent QBs ... Blaine Gabbert, Chase Daniel and Brad Smith?
VAHE GREGORIAN
James Franklin is a unique commodity, almost completely different than his recent predecessors. He isn’t as fast as Brad Smith, but he is elusive and has demonstrated a knack for making something out of nothing. He doesn’t have the size of Gabbert or the mechanics of Gabbert and Daniel, but I think he is more accurate than people realize and will have a good stable to throw to.
Moreover, Mizzou can contour its offense to his strengths, and that figures to include a more balanced attack that could rekindle an offense that was in the second tier of the conference last season.
What no one can really know until it happens, though, is how Franklin will perform as The Man in the crucible of college football. It was one thing to do it in high school, another in spot duty in 10 games last season. Expect to know a lot more by Sept. 9 at Arizona State, and Sept. 24 at Oklahoma.
BRYAN BURWELL
Coming out of Lake Dallas High School, James Franklin was considered one of the top multi-dimensional QBs in the nation. We have to assume based on that template he would most likely be expected to fall on the Brad Smith skill-set line. But we have not seen nearly enough of Franklin to know what sort of quarterback he will become. Is he a star in the making? It’s way too early to know. But from the small sample size it doesn’t look like he will be as explosive as his predecessors.
JEFF GORDON
We didn’t get to see much of his passing skills last season, but folks familiar with his high school work believe he can become an effective passer in this system. Matching Gabbert’s arm strength, Daniel’s offensive feel or Smith’s slithering running style will be difficult, but Franklin should be an effective passing/running threat. Like Daniel and Gabbert, he should benefit from seeing game action a year before taking over the starting assignment.

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10 St Louis Companies in Fortune 500

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St. Louis still has 10 companies in Fortune 500

BY DAVID NICKLAUS
post-dispatch.com
May 10, 2011
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The new Fortune 500 is out, and for at least another year, St. Louis can claim that it has 10 companies on the prestigious list.

Here's the St. Louis list:
  • 55. Express Scripts
  • 120. Emerson
  • 234. Monsanto
  • 290. Reinsurance Group of America
  • 313. Ameren
  • 333. Charter Communications
  • 338. Peabody Energy
  • 369. Smurfit-Stone Container
  • 480. Graybar Electric
  • 493. Centene

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Microsoft to Buy Skype for $ 8.5 Billion

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Microsoft agrees to buy Skype for $8.5B 

May 10, 2011
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the popular Internet telephone service Skype SA for $8.5 billion in the biggest deal in the software maker's 36-year history.
Buying Skype gives Microsoft access to a user base of about 170 million people who log in to Skype every month, using the Internet and Skype usernames as a complement to the traditional phone network and its phone numbers.
Microsoft said it will marry Skype's functions to its Xbox game console, Outlook email program and Windows smartphones. All of these platforms already have other options for Internet calling, but the addition of Skype users would expand their reach, making them more useful.
Microsoft said it will continue to support Skype on other software platforms.
The sellers include eBay Inc. and private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz.
Skype users made 207 billion minutes of voice and video calls last year. Most of that usage is free calling from computer to computer, which has made it difficult for the service to make money since entrepreneurs Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis started the company in 2003. An average of about 8.8 million customers per month, or just over 5 percent of the user base, pay to use Skype to call out to the regular phone network.
The vast majority of paying Skype users is in Europe, where high country-to-country rates for traditional phone calls make Skype more popular than in the U.S., where state-to-state calling is cheap.
Skype is the largest provider of international calling services in the world, surpassing any single phone company, according to research firm TeleGeography.
Skype lost $7 million on revenue of $860 million last year, according to papers that the company has filed since announcing its intentions last summer to launch an initial public offering of stock. The IPO was later put on hold. Skype's long-term debt, net of cash, was $544 million at the end of 2010.
The Skype takeover tops Microsoft's biggest previous acquisition - a $6 billion purchase of the online ad service aQuantive in 2007.
Microsoft said Skype will become a new business division headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates, who will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Although it makes billions from its computer software, Microsoft has been accustomed to losing money on the Internet in a mostly futile attempt to catch up to Google Inc. in the lucrative online search market. Microsoft got so desperate that it made a $47.5 billion bid to buy Yahoo Inc. three years ago, but withdrew the offer after Yahoo balked. Yahoo is now worth about half of what Microsoft offered.
Microsoft can well afford to buy Skype: On March 31, it had a cash hoard of $50.2 billion.
Microsoft would be Skype's second large-company owner. EBay bought Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005, but its attempt to unite the phone service with its online shopping bazaar never worked out. It wound up selling a 70 percent stake in Skype to a group of investors led by private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz for $2 billion 18 months ago.
Besides eBay, Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz, Skype's other major shareholders are Joltid and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

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Obama Gets Childish on Immigration Position Claims Border Is Secure as Ever

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Obama mocks Republican position on immigration

Associated Press
May 10, 2011
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President Barack Obama says his administration has answered the concerns of Republican lawmakers who want the U.S.-Mexico border better secured before they are willing to take on comprehensive immigration reform.
Standing at the border Tuesday, Obama mocked Republicans for never being satisfied and always changing the conditions about what's needed to secure the border. Said the president: "Maybe they'll say we need a moat. Or alligators in the moat."
Obama says that stepped-up enforcement is getting results.
Obama used his speech in El Paso, Texas, to push Congress to work with him on a plan to give millions of illegal residents a path to citizenship.
He also said a burden rests with illegal immigrants to do right by the law. He said they make a "mockery" of all those who try to immigrate legally.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
President Barack Obama, visiting the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time as president, is trying to build pressure on Republicans to take on comprehensive immigration legislation _ while showing vital Hispanic voters that he is not the one standing in the way.
Obama's speech in El Paso Tuesday afternoon will mark an attempt by the White House to escalate the debate over immigration despite opposition from majority House Republicans to legislation offering a pathway to citizenship to the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants.
Instead of trying to make deals on Capitol Hill _ even some Republicans who once supported a comprehensive overhaul have turned against it _ Obama is taking his argument to the country, using the singular megaphone of the presidency to try to build a groundswell of support for legislation. He'll declare the border more secure than ever and that it's time to stop arguing about border security and start working on a comprehensive bill.
It comes as many Latino voters, believing that the president never made good on his campaign promise to tackle immigration laws in the first year of his presidency, want to see him do more. They want Obama not just to push legislation but to act unilaterally to slow some deportations, something he has refused to do.
"The approach we are taking is that we are trying to, recognizing the hurdles that we face legislatively, we are trying to build awareness and support for the need for comprehensive immigration reform to fix this broken system," presidential spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling on Air Force One to El Paso.
At the same time, the strategy allows Obama to highlight that Republicans are the ones blocking an immigration bill _ shifting responsibility away from himself as his re-election campaign approaches.
But Obama's not putting out a bill or setting a deadline for Congress to produce one, leading critics to dismiss his efforts as little more than politics in pursuit of the ever-growing Hispanic electorate. Latinos accounted for more than 7 percent of voters in the 2008 presidential election, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, and their numbers are greater in certain swing states like Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida.
The president picked hostile political territory to make his pitch, visiting a state he lost by more than 10 percentage points in 2008. But there's one overtly political upside: Obama plans a side visit to the relatively liberal bastion of Austin to raise money for the Democratic National Committee at two events Tuesday night.
At the same time, Obama is refining his immigration argument in a way that goes to Americans' pocketbook concerns. He will emphasize the economic value of reforming immigration laws, noting that immigrants account for a substantial share of business start-ups, among other things _ activities that create jobs for everyone.
The president will also argue that his administration has made great strides on border security. Administration officials boast of increasing the number of agents on the border, seizing more contraband and nearing completion of a border fence. To Republicans who say that immigration overhaul legislation shouldn't happen until the border is secure, the White House now says it's as secure as it's ever been and the conversation on legislation needs to happen.
Republicans aren't buying it.
"The president's push to legalize millions of illegal immigrants is purely political," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "And even though administration officials like to pretend the border is secure, the reality is that it isn't. ... It is unlikely the president will succeed anytime soon. "
Indeed, getting immigration reform done this year or next is not realistic. Obama wasn't even able to get legislation through Congress last year that would have provided a route to legal status for college students and others who were brought to the country as children. The so-called DREAM Act passed the House, then controlled by Democrats, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.
The Senate is now even more heavily Republican, and Republicans control the House. That means immigration reform can't happen unless they cooperate. Nonetheless, Senate Democrats plan to reintroduce the DREAM Act on Wednesday, with their counterparts in the House following suit. Given Republican opposition the bills likely won't get far, but Obama will try to make certain voters know who to blame.
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Associated Press writers Suzanne Gamboa and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.



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St. Charles County Developers Indicted Bank Fraud Charges

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Two St. Charles County developers indicted on bank fraud charges

BY ROBERT PATRICK
post-dispatch.com
May 10, 2011
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ST. LOUIS • Two former St. Charles County home developers have been indicted in federal court here on three counts of bank fraud each, the U.S. Attorney's office said Tuesday.
Thomas Colvin, 53, and Kristaq Gjordeni, 53, owners of Englewood I Development LLC, misused part of a $5.2 million loan that was supposed to go towards the development of The Bluffs at Green Chutes, 33 one-acre homes on a 45-acre parcel on Greens Bottom Road, prosecutors said.
The pair started with a $3.8 million Sun Security loan in 2006. By late 2007, all the money had been disbursed by the bank, but the development was not done.
Sun later discovered that the pair had used some of the loan funds to pay other loans and non-project expenses, prosecutors said. They also paid themselves $168,000 for "supervision" and their company $500,000 for administration, expenses that had not been included in cost estimates, prosecutors said.
Colvin is from Lake Ozark, Mo. and Gjordeni is from St. Louis County, prosecutors said.




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Dead Silence Japan Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant: Still Smoking, Melting, More Radiation Fallout


The Japanese government says that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumours, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send letters of request to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality.”
As the Nuclear emergency in Japan enters into its 10th week The Children of Fukushima now find themselves exposed to yearly radiation levels rivalling those set by the German Government for its power plant workers. The media and the Nuclear Industry would have you believe the radiation releases from Fukushima Daiichi are safe. However, many of us refuse to accept the endless propaganda now being forced upon us by the Pro-Neuclear movement. The Radiation at the levels being released from Fukushima Daiichi are not safe. Remember Chernobyl? The effects on children are still being experienced today.
READ MORE
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What happened to the fuel rods and assemblies ? MELTDOWN AND NOW IN THE ENVIRONMENT!!!
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Deadly Silence on Fukushima

Vivian Norris
Huffington Post
May 10, 211
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I received the following email a few days ago from a Russian nuclear physicist friend who is an expert on the kinds of gases being released at Fukushima. Here is what he wrote:
About Japan: the problem is that the reactor uses “dirty” fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX). I suspect that the old fuel rods have bean spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again. It is like a new Tchernobyl. Personally, I am not surprised that the authority has not informed people about this.
I have been following the Fukushima story very closely since the earthquake and devastating tsunami. I have asked scientists I know, nuclear physicists and others about where they find real information. I have also watched as the news has virtually disappeared. There is something extremely disturbing going on, and having lived through the media blackout in France back in April and early May 1986, and speaking to doctors who are deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in cancers appearing at very young ages, it is obvious that information is being held back. We are still told not to eat mushrooms and truffles from parts of Europe, not wild boar and reindeer from Germany and Finland 25 years later.
A special thanks to people like European Representative Michele Rivasi, who has followed this issue since Chernobyl: Rivasi, a Green MEP and founder of France’s Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity, told EurActiv that she was worried the tests would cover up nuclear risks and reinstate business as usual.
“It’s very important to have scientists who are not already paid by the nuclear power industry,” she said. “If they are the same people from Euratom and national authorities they use today, why would they say anything different to what they say all the time?”
One resource for information on Chernobyl deaths and cancers/illnesses was only just recently translated and can be found online: “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko, and Alexey Nesterenko.
Another very good report on Chernobyl is this one, which also outlines the disturbing relationship between WHO and the nuclear industry.
The best site I have found for up-to-date information by nuclear industry experts is here.
Arnie Gundersen was a high-level executive for years and analyzes the information he has been receiving in a calm and scientific way. His latest update is entitled, “Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History.” Gundersen is in touch with senior members of the Japanese nuclear establishment. What is highly disturbing is that the main reason Japan does not appear to be as bad a Chernobyl is that the wind was blowing out to sea and not for the most part towards land. But all this has done is spread the cancers out into the worldwide population as opposed to concentrating it all in Japan. It will be very difficult to tell, as it was in France, Scandinavia and other places, where the Chernobyl cloud traveled in the days following the disaster. I will summarize some of Gunderson’s very disturbing and important information here:
1. There was a hydrogen explosion, and it was a detonation, not a deflagration — in other words the fire burned up not burned down.
2. A frame-by-frame analysis shows a flame that confirms that the fuel pool is burning as a result of an explosion which started as a hydrogen explosion but that could not have lifted the fuel into the air so there must have been a violent explosion at the bottom of the fuel pool. But more data is needed.
3. Gunderson speaks about past criticalities in other nuclear reactors around the world, and I find it odd we are not hearing about these and how they can teach us about what is going on now at Fukushima.
4. Radioactive water is being pumped out and groundwater is contaminated, so there must be a leak or leaks, and this disaster is in no way contained. There will be contamination for a long time to come and this groundwater contamination is moving inland. One town is reporting radioactive sewage sludge from ground water or rainwater.
5. The Greenpeace ship Rainbow water has requested the Japanese government to test the waters near Japan, and Japan has refused this independent data request. The EPA has also shut down all inspection centers and is NOT inspecting fish. (Why the silence?)
Since Gunderson made this latest video, just a day or so ago new photo evidence seems to be showing burning and new fires taking place at Fukushima (from TBS JNN Japan):
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Why is this not on the front page of every single newspaper in the world? Why are official agencies not measuring from many places around the world and reporting on what is going on in terms of contamination every single day since this disaster happened? Radioactivity has been being released now for almost two full months! Even small amounts when released continuously, and in fact especially continuous exposure to small amounts of radioactivity, can cause all kinds of increases in cancers.
One reason no one is reporting on this nor allowed to go inside the exclusion zone nor even measure the waters off of Japan is because of the following compiled by Makiko Segawa, a staff writer at the Shingetsu News Agency. She prepared this report from Fukushima and Tokyo for www.japanfocus.org:
Freelance journalists and foreign media are pursuing the facts, even going into the radiation exclusion zone. However, surprisingly, the Japan government continues to prevent freelance journalists and overseas media from gaining access to official press conferences at the prime minister’s house and government.
Uesugi stated that since March 11th, the government has excluded all internet media and all foreign media from official press conferences on the “Emergency Situation.” While foreign media have scrambled to gather information about the Fukushima Reactor, they have been denied access to the direct information provided by the government and one consequence of this is that “rumor-rife news has been broadcast overseas.”
In fact, access has been limited in two ways. First, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio holds twice daily press conferences for representatives of the big Japanese media, registered representatives of freelance and internet media are limited to a single press conference per week. Second, in contrast to Japanese media who are briefed regularly by Edano and periodically by Prime Miniser Kan, foreign media are briefed exclusively by administrative staff.
Uesugi also notes that at TEPCO press conferences, which are now being held at company headquarters, foreign correspondents and Japanese freelancers regularly ask probing questions while mainstream journalists simply record and report company statements reiterating that the situation is basically under control and there is nothing to worry about. One reason for this, Uesugi suggests, is that TEPCO, a giant media sponsor, has an annual 20 billion yen advertising budget. “The media keeps defending the information from TEPCO!” “The Japanese media today is no different from the wartime propaganda media that kept repeating to the very end that ‘Japan is winning the war against America,’” Uesugi exclaimed.
There is one particularly telling example of the media shielding TEPCO by suppressing information. This concerns “plutonium.” According to Uesugi, after the reactor blew up on March 14, there was concern about the leakage of plutonium. However, astonishingly, until two weeks later when Uesugi asked, not a single media representative had raised the question of plutonium at TEPCO’s press conferences.
On March 26, in response to Uesugi’s query, TEPCO stated, “We do not measure the level of plutonium and do not even have a detector to scale it.” Ironically, the next day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano announced that “plutonium was detected.”
When TEPCO finally released data on radioactive plutonium on March 28, it stated that plutonium -238, -239, and -240 were found in the ground, but insisted that it posed no human risk. Since TEPCO provided no clarification of the meaning of the plutonium radiation findings, the mainstream press merely reported the presence of the radiation without assessment (link). Nippon Television on March 29 headlined its interview with Tokyo University Prof. Nakagawa Keiichi, a radiation specialist, “Plutonium from the power plant–No effect on neighbors.”
On March 15, Uesugi criticized TEPCO for its closed attitude toward information on a TBS radio program. For this, he was immediately dismissed from his regular program. The scandal involving TEPCO’s silencing of the media took an interesting turn two weeks later. At the time of the disaster on March 11, TEPCO Chairman Katsumata Tsunehisa was hosting dozens of mainstream media executives on a “study session” in China. When asked about this fact by freelance journalist Tanaka Ryusaku at a TEPCO press conference on March 30, Katsumata defended the practice.
“It is a fact that we traveled together to China,” he said. “[TEPCO] did not pay all the expenses of the trip, but we paid more than they did. Certainly they are executives of the mass media, but they are all members of the study session.”
When Tanaka requested the names of the media executives hosted by TEPCO in China, Katsumata retorted, “I cannot reveal their names since this is private information.” But it is precisely such collusive relations between mainstream media, the government and TEPCO, that results in the censorship of information concerning nuclear problems.
Now the Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government’s policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public. A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.”
We need to demonstrate and write to our representatives and demand that measuring be done around the world continuously. Fukushima’s nuclear disaster is still going on. People need accurate information to protect themselves. Here is how after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Chernobyl doctors worked with those who had been contaminated to decontaminate them (Sources: Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., Nagasaki 1945 (London: Quartet Books, 1981); Tatsuichiro Akizuki, “How We Survived Nagasaki,” East West Journal, December 1980):
Macrobiotic Diet Prevents Radiation Sickness Among A-Bomb Survivors in Japan – In August, 1945, at the time of the atomic bombing of Japan, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis’s Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the fallout that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso soup, wakame and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness.
I gave the cooks and staff strict orders that they should make unpolished whole-grain rice balls, adding some salt to them, prepare strong miso soup for each meal, and never use sugar. When they didn’t follow my orders, I scolded them without mercy, ‘Never take sugar. Sugar will destroy your blood!’…

This dietary method made it possible for me to remain alive and go on working vigorously as a doctor. The radioactivity may not have been a fatal dose, but thanks to this method, Brother Iwanaga, Reverend Noguchi, Chief Nurse Miss Murai, other staff members and in-patients, as well as myself, all kept on living on the lethal ashes of the bombed ruins. It was thanks to this food that all of us could work for people day after day, overcoming fatigue or symptoms of atomic disease and survive the disaster” free from severe symptoms of radioactivity.
People need answers, data and honest information to help them deal with what is going on. Media blackouts, propaganda and greedy self-interested industries, of any kind, who allow human beings’ health to be affected, and deaths to occur, must be stopped now. That senior TEPCO man and the leading nuclear academic in Japan did not break down crying and resign their positions because all was well at Fukushima. Think about it world, and act now before it is too late.
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Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.
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Where is all that Fukushima radiation going, and why does it matter? from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.
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U.S. Facing Massive Unemployment: Federal Stimulas Borrowing Not Working

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America faces massive unemployment

RTAmerica
May 10, 2011
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As Americans attempt to bounce back from a recession, things still remain grim for much of the country, as the number of unemployment benefit applicants is at the highest it’s been in quite a while. Michael T Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog discusses the state of the economy, as big businesses reap in more profits, all the while the amount of Americans on foodstamps is at an all time high.

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Missouri voters To Decide Photo ID Mandate in 2012

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Missouri voters will decide in 2012 whether to impose photo ID mandate
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter    
May 10, 2011
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Amid all the major offices on the 2012 ballot, Missouri voters also will be asked whether they want to amend the state constitution to require voters in future elections to produce government-issued photo identification.
By a vote of 25-9, the Missouri Senate on Monday gave final approval to the proposed constitutional amendment that already had passed the state House. Because the proposal is a "joint resolution,'' it can go straight to the ballot without action by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who in the past has opposed the idea.
The proposed change also allows for early voting, which now is allowed in Missouri only via absentee ballot and only if people meet certain requirements. The ballot proposal states, "Advance voting may be established by general law from the third Saturday before an election until the first Tuesday before an election excluding Sundays."
Republican legislative leaders are making a second stab at the photo-ID requirement, five years after the Missouri Supreme Court tossed out an earlier measure -- signed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt -- that sought to implement the IDs. The high court said the mandate violated Missouri's constitution.
Republicans and conservatives in a number of states have sought to get photo-ID requirements on the books, contending that their aim is to fight voter fraud. Critics say the real aim is to make it tougher to vote for the poor, the elderly and the disabled -- who are less likely to have drivers licenses and, as a bloc, tend to lean Democratic.

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